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The Third Man

This 1949 study in post-war European corruption is screened in a new restored print

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In Carol Reed’s beautifully shot 1949 adaptation of Graham Greene’s novel, American pulp novelist Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten) visits post-World War II Vienna at the request of his friend Harry Lime (Orson Welles). But Lime’s just been killed in a mysterious accident, prompting Martins to poke about in the underbelly of the city still struggling after the war and rife with corruption, where he soon discovers that some horrors didn’t end with the ceasefire. As the writer of Western pulps, Martins becomes Greene’s stand-in for that faraway nation untouched by the ravages of a homefront; he is the naïve American who makes a living marketing simplistic hero-versus-villain fiction, and who cannot grasp the many shades of gray morality that living in post-war Europe demands. Screens in a restored version, struck from the original negative.


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